Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Long ago, when "Lonely Weekends" was a hit by Charlie Rich, I bought his Phillips Int'l album titled "Lonely Weekends with Charlie Rich."

In the 50+ years since, I have completely lost track of that album. I suppose it's worth a bundle now.

Was Charlie Rich one of the first rock and roll singers to have written his own songs?
—Melrose Hunt, New Haven, Conn.

DEAR MELROSE: You should have kept closer watch over that original 1961 album (Phillips International LP-1970). It is worth a bundle of sorts: $300 to $500.

Before the mid-'60s, and the emergence of acts like Bob Dylan, Donovan and Simon & Garfunkel, the pop or rock singer-songwriter was the exception rather than the rule. No so in country, where Hank Williams and Marty Robbins mastered the art. Most pop singers before the '60s relied on established writers - tin pan alley types. Writers wrote and singers sang.

Charlie Rich was one of many singer-songwriters in the mid-to-late 1950s. Here are some stars who, from 1957 to '59, reached No. 1 with their own composition (sometimes with a co-writer):


"Party Doll" by Buddy Knox
Writers: Buddy Knox - Jimmy Bowen - (Roulette R-4002)

"Diana" by Paul Anka with Orchestra and Chorus Conducted by Don Costa
Writer: Paul Anka (ABC-Paramount 45-9831)

"That'll Be the Day" by The Crickets
Writers: Jerry Allison - Buddy Holly - Norman Petty (Brunswick 9-55009)

"Raunchy" by Bill Justis and His Orchestra
Writers: William Justis - Sidney Manker (Phillips P-309)


"Tequila" by The Champs
Writer: Chuck Rio, of the Champs (Challenge 1016)

"Witch Doctor" by The Music of David Seville
Writer: R. Bagdasarian (a.k.a., David Seville) (Liberty F-55132)

"The Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley
Writer: Sheb Wooley (M-G-M K12651)

"Patricia" by Perez Prado and His Orch.
Writer: Perez Prado (RCA Victor 47-7245)

"Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Nell-Blue Dee-Peento De Blue) (Volare)" by Domenico Modugno with Fonit Orchestra
Writers: Franco Migliacci - Domenico Modugno (Decca 9-30677)

"Little Star" by The Elegants
Writers: Arthur Venosa - Vito Picone (APT 45-25005)

"It's Only Make Believe" by Conway Twitty
Writers: Conway Twitty - Jack Nance (M-G-M K12677)

"To Know Him, Is to Love Him" by The Teddy Bears
Writer: Phillip Spector (Dore 45-503)

"The Chipmunk Song (Alvin, Theodore & Simon)" by The Chipmunks with the Music of David Seville
Writer: Ross Bagdasarian (a.k.a., David Seville) (Liberty F-55168)


"Stagger Lee" by Lloyd Price with Don Costa Orchestra
Writers: Leon Gross Archibald - Lloyd Price - Harold Logan (ABC-Paramount 459972)

"Come Softly to Me" by The Fleetwoods
Writers: Gretchen Christopher - Gary Troxel - Barbara Ellis (Dolphin No. 1)

"The Happy Organ" artist credit is Featuring at the Organ Dave 'Baby' Cortez (instrumental)
Writers: Ken Wood - David Cortez (Clowney) - James Kriegsmann (Clock C-1009)

"Lonely Boy" by Paul Anka (Arranged and Conducted by Don Costa)
Writer: Paul Anka (ABC-Paramount 45-10,022)

"Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny (instrumental)
Writers: Santo Farina - Johnny Farina - Ann Farina (Canadian American 103)

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